Installing carbonOS

Updated for 2022.1

These instructions are a quick guide to getting carbonOS installed and ready for testing.

System Requirements

Installing onto hardware

  1. Download the ISO Image
  2. Write the ISO to a USB flash drive, using dd, balenaEtcher, or similar software
  3. Boot your machine into the EFI firmware. Disable secure boot, and ensure that your USB drive has priority in the boot order
  4. Boot your machine from the USB drive.
  5. Select “Try or Install carbonOS” from the menu. You can select the ramdisk alternative if necessary (i.e. you want to remove the USB drive during installation), but I don’t recommend using the ramdisk unless you have at least 8GB of RAM.
  6. Once the system boots, select your language and follow the on-screen instructions

Installing onto GNOME Boxes

  1. Ensure that GNOME Boxes can support EFI systems. This depends on how you installed Boxes and on your distribution. The easiest method to ensure everything is correct is to install Boxes from Flathub
  2. Download the ISO Image
  3. Create a new virtual machine, and select the ISO image you downloaded
  4. Boxes will tell you that it couldn’t recognize the OS. In the list of OS options, select “GNOME OS”. This step is absolutely essential! carbonOS will not boot without it
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish creating the VM
  6. Start the VM
  7. Select “Try or Install carbonOS” from the menu
  8. Once the system boots, select your language and follow the on-screen instructions

Installing onto VirtualBox

For the best experience, I’d recommend testing carbonOS through GNOME Boxes. Running carbonOS on VirtualBox is possible, but there are known issues:

If you want to try working around these issues, please join #carbonOS:matrix.org and I’ll help you get it installed. Then I’ll write some proper instructions here

Dual-boot, custom partitions, etc

These setups are not officially supported by carbonOS. However, if you’d like to use carbonOS in these scenarios anyway, you’ll need to follow the advanced installation instructions. Be warned, that these instructions assume you have the prerequisite knowledge to manually manipulate Linux partitions, filesystems, and configuration.